Sunday, January 10, 2010

Sunday Sentiments: God's Love & Forgiveness

I know it is a little late for a new post. But, this thought was such a good one, I wanted to share before I forget. Aside from the fellowship, support and overall good feelings of the spirit I obtain by renewing my covenants at church, I like going to church because I always learn something "new". Granted, the principle may not be new, but it's like reading a book or watching a movie for the second time. I get to certain parts and I am like, "I don't remember that from the first time I read/saw that." Or, maybe it is more enlightening. Or even better, perhaps I will understand it with greater depth. Like when I read a passage of scripture that I may have read a hundred times before, maybe this time it has new meaning for me.

Anyway, today in church in our women's Relief Society class, the lesson was back to basics; about how there is a God and that we are part of a heavenly family and God is our Father in Heaven. He is all-knowing, all-powerful, etc. The teacher asked the class to make a list of all of His qualities and attributes. There were lots of attributes mentioned. He is a Loving God, kind, merciful, patient, everywhere all the time, answers our prayers, etc. Here is the one that made my ears perk up just a little -- He is a forgiving God, and He is QUICK to forgive, and will forgive over and over, so long as we have a repentant heart and ASK.

Then, someone brought up THIS. Not only is He quick to forgive us of our trespasses, but He remembers them no more. As a Christian, I strive to live a Christ-centered life. Christ's whole mission testified of God. If God is quick to forgive AND forget, then we should strive to "forget" as well.

One lady said, and this is paraphrasing, "In order to truly forgive, we just need to FORGET about it; let it go. We need to FORGET the wrong choices our children have made. We need to FORGET about the things our parents did that perhaps we didn't agree with. We need to FORGET about the little quarrels or contention we've had with our friends and neighbors and brothers and sisters. If God can FORGET about our sins, we owe each other that same luxury."

As a parent, this doesn't mean I should turn a blind eye to the wrong things my children do. But it does mean that after I do my best to teach and correct them, I need to, as the quote says, "let bygones be bygones."

In my own group of siblings, we all have varying opinions on child-rearing or homemaking skills, etc., but simply put, we don't fight. I can't tell you how many people I know -- adults, mind you -- that tell me they aren't speaking to one of their siblings, or worse one of their parents. It's sad, really.

This is a very foreign concept to me. I don't think any of my siblings or my parents are perfect, and I am positive they will tell you the same about me. I am sure I do things that make them cringe, just like I can truthfully say I have cringed over some things they have done. But this whole concept of forgiving and forgetting, I love.

I hate carrying the burden of being upset with someone. It feels awful. Recently, when someone said some very unkind things to me, I carried that burden. I allowed myself to be hurt. Finally, I had to bury it and move on. So, I did. I packed it up, buried it away and forgave. Now - I hope to just forget about it. It doesn't really matter anyway.

I am sure that as my kids grow older and make choices for themselves, I will not always be proud of all of their choices, just as my parents have probably been disappointed by some of ours. However, I hope I can reflect upon and remember that as children of our Heavenly Father - and we all are - we owe it to each other to give each other the luxury of "Forgiving & Forgetting".

Just one more thing that hit me while I was sitting in the class today, and then I'll get off my soap box...

I think most of us are familiar with the saying that "God is Love". And He is. I remember when I had my first baby. I remember how much I loved him. I loved that baby with every fiber of my being. I would do and give anything for his safety and well-being. He brought so much joy into my life. He was an only child for almost four years before I had my second one. I remember during my second pregnancy, being a little worried and concerned. I wondered, how could I possibly divide my love? Would I have enough love to give to both children? But then the second one came and I didn't have to divide my love at all. I remember rocking my new little newborn in the hospital, and thinking, "Loving this baby doesn't mean I love my other child any less. I don't have to divide my love; there is simply just more to give." It is a phenomenon really. I mean, to give all you have to the first, and then to still have more when the second one is born? It truly amazed me.

And I thought to myself at that time, "I feel like I have just glimpsed into the heart of God. He doesn't divide His love; there is just more to give. He loves ALL of His children."

There is no end to love, after all, is there...


greenolive said...

No there isn't and it truly is amazing. I love to find someone new who I don't know very well and find out what makes them lovable. It's so much fun and it sure does help to understand how much God loves everybody. One of my favorite sayings is "Nobody is better than anyone else but everyone is special".

Debbi said...

fantastic thoughts. The teacher in my class didn't do hardly ANYTHING in regards to 'enlightening' the conversation, so I'm thrilled to hear yours.

My sentiments entirely. Something I truly believe I've learned and am still mastering-- the FORGETTING part of forgiving. It honestly is so much 'lighter' a life when you let go of those things.

Deborah said...

Beautiful post, Emma!

Denise @ Sunflowers, Chocolate and Little Boys said...

God is great. He loves us and forgives and forgets. So wonderful!

okeydokeyifine said...

I have felt that same love 7 times over. And even when I got after the children (beat them:) it did not mean that I did not love them. There came a time when the children grew up and made decisions with very hard consequences and I knew that any punishment of mine would pale next to the natural consequence they would face. My job at that point was to love and not judge, be their as they needed me.
It is hard to forget our own mistakes because we don't want to make them again. It is hard to forget the mistakes of others when it involves us. With time and effort and growth, we can do this.
Yes, God is love. (And by the way, If You Coul Dad's favorite hymn.)

Puphigirl said...

Once you forgive, you may not be able to forget, but you can be sure to not dwell on it and let it fester. Eventually you will forget.

I know I don't talk to my siblings or parents on a regular basis, but I am not purposefully NOT talking to them. I guess I feel like we are just living our own lives. I think blogging and facebook has brought us closer together, communicatively speaking.

Neff III family said...

People say horrible things about God all the time, use his name inappropriately and say he doesn't exist. Them saying it, doesn't make it true. People saying horrible things to us doesn't make them true either. So their comments hold no water at all.

Learning the basics about God helps us know what our potential is. If He can do something perfectly, we can at least try to do it (even if imperfectly)

RhondaLue said...

I love the new lesson manual! I thought it would be boring and "Old" but I am feeling even stronger that there is a reason for going back to these simple lessons. We need to get back to the basics. We need to get back to the simple truths to make it through this life.

We do, in hubby's family, have a sibling that won't speak to us. Mostly its a jealousy thing. I don't get why we can't be happy for one another and just live and let live but it's just not that way. Spiteful grievances truly suck. But I've decided since we cannot control other people, can't make them like us, can't make them tolerate's best to focus on making sure our children don't turn out like that. And we're doing pretty good so far! :)

Great thoughts shared. Oh, one thing I kept thinking when they were listing God's attributes is that he is CONSTANT. In these times, there isn't much that is constant. Our income can change, our living circumstances, even our families can grow or shrink or change...but God never does. He is the one constant in our lives. I'm totally hangin' with him. I need the stability!

Holli and Billy said...

I loved yesterday's lesson! I couldn't agree more with your thoughts!

Ruthykins said...

i can gladly say that i haven't burned any bridges with any siblings, or my husband's siblings. derek hasn't either, but his family has at least one set of brothers that are not on speaking terms. i'm glad we don't have that.

as far as forgiveness goes, i've known people who've held grudges for years. i knew a girl who was mad at her dad. she refused to forgive him because he had never asked for forgiveness. i told her that she should ask him for forgiveness from him for all the bad feelings she'd had toward him all those years. then i was told to shut up. sometimes, by asking others to forgive us we find that we have to forgive them first. she would've had to soften her heart to go to him. anyway, i'm off my soapbox now.